Maldives is a group of 1192 islands located in the Arabian Sea as part of the continent of Asia. The country is one of the lowest in the world, standing at 1.5metres above sea level. The islands are some of the smallest in the world as well. The Maldivian language is known as Dhivehi and the official currency is Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR). It is a very popular holiday destination that sees thousands of visitors during season.
History and Religion
The history of the islands are clouded in mystery, with little known about them. However it is known that Maldives, then known as Dheeva Mari, was officially colonised by a disgraced and exiled Indian Prince by the name of Sri Soorudasaruna Adeettiya, son of a king in Kalinga, India. The Maldivian people converted to Islam in 1153 A.D. The country is to this day, one of the smallest Muslim countries in the world. Due to it being situated in the crossroads of the trade routes the country’s inhabitants are a product of a mix of Indian, African, European, Arabian and Asian ancestors.
Geography and Environment
The 1192 islands are arranged into atolls and these atolls spread over the ocean for approximately 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles). 99% of the Maldives is water and the atolls are composed of sand bars and live coral reefs. The islands sands are made of coralline, which is very rare in the world as most beaches are made of quartz. The sands are created by Parrot Fishes which eat corals and poops the undigested parts. It is believed that one Parrot Fish can produce around 1 tonne of sand a year.
In 2011 UNESCO assigned the title of Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve to an area comprising of 75 islands. This area contains a majority of the marine life in the Maldives and is home to over 250 species of coral and many other dependent species. Further, 5 out of the 7 types of marine turtles call the Maldives home.
Due to the islands being located so close to the equator the sun’s rays shines directly on the islands at a 90 degree angle. Ensure that a strong sunscreen is packed when visiting. The weather is further divided into two seasons; the winter which consists of the northeastern monsoon season and the summer which is as a result of the rainy southwestern monsoon season.
The Maldives is known as one of the world’s safest travel destinations. Accomodation for holiday travellers are plentiful with resorts like Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives; hotels, guest houses and more. There is a myriad of activities to choose from as well, such as cruises on traditional boats known as Dhonis, snorkelling, diving, flyboarding, water skiing and more.
Be mindful of the laws and regulations of the country though and abide by them. Maldives being a Muslim country it is a must to dress respectfully in the cities and towns. Also remember that alcohol is only permitted in the resorts and hotels.